TU partner in Yellowstone National Park honored for his efforts

Todd Koel holds a native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Koel was recently recognized for his efforts to protect and restore native fish in the world's first national park. National Park Service photo.

By Brett Prettyman

Without the support of partners Trout Unlimited would likely have to change its last name to Limited.

Such is the case with Todd Koel, a vital partner in Trout Unlimited’s efforts to restore native species in Yellowstone National Park.

Koel, fisheries supervisor in Yellowstone, was recently awarded the 2015 Regional Director's Award for Natural Resource Management by the National Park Service (NPS).

“The award honors Todd for his significant contributions in reversing decreasing trends in native fish populations and associated losses of ecosystem function in Yellowstone,” read a release from the NPS. “He also led the restoration of native Arctic grayling and cutthroat trout to several watersheds and intensified efforts to suppress nonnative lake trout and restore cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Lake.”

Koel has been working with a number of partners in the park. Among them Dave Sweet, Yellowstone Lake Special Project Manager through Wyoming Trout Unlimited.

Sweet said the award is well deserved and much appreciated by the grassroots members of TU who have been working in the park.

"Todd has been a diligent champion for native fish restoration in Yellowstone, working to protect and restore Yellowstone cutthroat trout, Westslope cutthroat trout, and fluvial Arctic grayling in their native waters,” Sweet said. “Todd has devoted much of his career to this cause and has seen great success in such iconic places as Yellowstone Lake, Soda Butte Creek, Slough Creek, Specimen Creek, and Grayling Creek. His leadership has brought tremendous visibility to the importance of this natural resource issue. All of Trout Unlimited owes Todd a sincere thank you for his vision and passion in saving our native trout."

Koel says many deserve credit for efforts to restore native fish in Yellowstone. He also appreciates the partnerships that are making it happen.

"I am deeply honored and humbled by this award. Our partnership with TU has been incredibly positive and together we've created significant, positive change for native fish in Yellowstone," Koel said. "The future is bright and I couldn't be more excited. Thank you for all the support."

Brett Prettyman is the Intermountain Region Communications Director for Trout Unlimited. He is based in Salt Lake City.


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